Roberts confirmation hearing thread

I know I know, boo boo politics.

anyway, the nomination proceedings for Roberts began today. The more I’ve read about him the more and more conservative he’s sounding, and not moderate at all like many of the early analyses stated.

I only saw a little of the first day (Senator opening remarks), but Sen. Biden’s statements greatly impressed me, so I dug up his whole speech. He’s becoming one of only a few Democrats in the Senate that I like right now.

http://biden.senate.gov/newsroom/details.cfm?id=245583&

I can only imagine Roberts responding in one of three ways. First, he might have just openly and flat out laughed in Biden’s face. While I’m sure this is probably what Robert’s instinctive reaction was, I doubt that he followed through with it as it seems far too extreme for even the most hardcore conservative. Second, he might have listened through the whole thing, smiled a little, and said, “That’s nice, son. Next please.” But I doubt it’s that one either, since it’s not agressive, volatile, or snide enough for a conservative these days. No, I think he went for the third option: a complete disregard and sidestepping of what Senator Biden was trying to get at, while simulanteously belittling non-conservatives. Something like, “Well, you’ve brought up some interesting points, and obviously have put a lot of time into your speach, but I’m still right and you’re still wrong, because I love Jesus. Why don’t YOU love Jesus?” God, how I love American politics today!

I don’t think he’s experienced enough to be Chief Justice…he’s a rookie. :\

Of the 16 Chief Justices, 8 have been appointed straight to the job rather than serving as an associate justice first. Besides, the Chief Justice really has very barely any more official power than any other justice.

True 984.

ahem 'Scuse me while I don my asbestos underwear.

The first thing I noticed is that the conservatives I heard (hardly an exhaustive list) kept their remarks relatively short, while Biden went on and on about how the Supreme Court may let total fuckup decisions stand for decades, but they “always get it right.” Yeah. What’s right now? Care to make a prediction on what’s going to get struck down in the next 30 years?

The Supreme Court, like all other courts, is there to decide if a given case, not on the basis of morality, but of legality. Do anything else and their judicial neutrality is hell and gone out the window. Besides, we have the Congress to do that, in theory. They make fuckup decisions too, but successive classes “get it right.”

I’m hearing a lot about this “right to privacy” stuff. I don’t see a specifically enumerated right to privacy in the constitution. I <i>do</i> see an ammendment to protect against unreasonable search and seizure. And another forbidding any law “respecting an establishment of religion”, or “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” That covers most of the bigger worries. Later ammendments, like the 14th, explicitly redress wrongs that were commited, which were counter to the ideals that this country is supposed to represent; they’re enumerated in that and other founding documents, like the Declaration of Independence.

Also, from what I remember the last time I read the document itself, it’s more concerned with what you can’t do than what you can. That certainly makes for a shorter list.

[EDIT] In closing, politics sucks. You can never be sure what anyone is saying or what they believe, due to imprecise language, power words and rampant capitalizing on convenient defitnitions/cognitive dissonance. Peace out. [/EDIT]

I’m counting on all of you to keep this thread chock-full of political facts sprinkled liberally with commentary. :smiley: I’ll be honest, I haven’t kept up very well with the Supreme Court situation.

I read in a Bob Novak article that Roberts is certain to be nominated… the Democrats are going to give Bush one conservative appointment(Roberts) but try to force him to make the other appointment moderate or liberal.

Its hard to say how any potential justice is going to act once he’s appointed. There are multiple examples of conservative judges being appointed who end up making liberal decisions. It seems to be a recurring theme. For instance, many conservatives hate Justice Souter because they thought he was on their side(he was appointed by the first president Bush). Two other examples would be Eisenhower’s two appointments - most notably Earl Warren, who also was promoted straight to chief justice with his appointment and who oversaw the most liberal Supreme Court in history, until his retirement in 1968. The Warren Court is the court that ruled that police have to read criminals their rights - Eisenhower expressed regret over both his appointments. Some also think that conservatives expected Sandra Day O’Conner to be a lot more conservative than she turned out to be.

Will Roberts be this way? Its impossible to say at this point, however he did once assist on a case defending a gay man, so maybe that is a sign that he is more liberal than he appears. There don’t seem to be examples of justices turning out to be more conservative than the presidents who appointed them thought they would be; if anyone knows of such examples post them.

the differences in many of those cases Curtis is that for those people who’s opinions jumped around a lot, there was little known about anything they had done judicially. Most of the bulk of their public service was either as representatives or working through the AG/Solictor General’s office. There’s quite the voluminous amount of written work attached to Roberts, through his work in the Reagan administration, as advisor to the Bush v. Gore Supreme Court decision, and his time as a federal judge. Plus a lot of his written material concerning his decision-making is currently suppressed somewhere, near as I can tell, and the Democrats haven’t been able to get access to it yet.

As for Kraken’s comments, the right to privacy was developed in the 60s or so; derived from the “penumbra of rights” codified in the Constitution. It’s not there specifically. The reason why right-to-privacy is so harped on now is because many think abortion is going to be put before the Court again soon, and that has huge implications.

Roberts is going to be confirmed unless it was found out he ate babies in college or something. The President may be in for a major fight though with his next pick, because my guess is he’s going to pick a strongly conservative person; possibly a woman. That may result in a protracted struggle.

That the right to privacy is not specifically enumerated in the Constitution does not mean that it does not exist.

Yeah, but as it’s the Supreme Court’s job in Ye Olde Checks And Balances Systeme to decide <i>constitutionality</i>, they don’t really get to decide that, do they?

I don’t think the right to privacy is inalienable, though I do think it exists. We do sometimes take away a person’s privacy (you don’t get to hide your income, and there are no stalls in prison showers), but by and large I think we have to be watchful of government overreaching.

I’m just puzzled as to why the haunted busts on the beltway are debating it with regard to judicial appointments. This is a legislative thing.

Ah, you beat me to it.

The right to privacy depends on your interpretation of the Constitution. Do you think that we should interpret as the founders meant at that time or should we interpret it to apply more to today? Your views determine how the arguments made will influence your decision. I’m blanking on the case right now, but one Justice (I think it was in a dissent, but I’m not positive, I’ll have to look it up later) wrote that the founders meant for there to be a right to privacy and he listed several amendments to support the right. He showed how warrants are needed to search and that people are safe in their homes. He also used the Ninth Amendment and how it says all other rights not mentioned belong to the individual. However, that is also quite broad and it could be a bit of a stetch. That is why the individual in the court matters. It depends on how he’ll take the argumentsc, both of which are very good.

Considering the provisions of British law at the time, I think the argument that they were trying to protect the people against tyrrany and harrasment by the government first, maybe privacy second.

But it could be said that privacy is a part of ensuring protection from the government. Besides, this debate has been going on for centuries, we aren’t going to settle it in this thread. Also, it is like I said before, it all depends on how you think we should interpret it. From your responses, you are clearly an Originalist, like Justice Scalia. You think that we should go with the what the Framer’s were thinking of back then and not how it could apply now. Your view is certainly valid and many would agree with you, but there are also many that would disagree with you. Also, it is like I showed earlier, there are amendments that do sort of describe a right to privacy. Hell, the 10th Amendment is pretty much the same, it just applies to the states, which is generally given the benefit of the broadness of the amendment.

I’m not disputing any right to privacy, I’m saying that it’s probably only auxilliary to what the Framers were most worried about, which was preserving personal liberty.

As far as interpreting the Constitution, and we do interpret it, as some parts are pretty vague, like “unreasonable,” which I heard Joe Biden talk about today. I think that narrower interpretations of these “stretchy” phrases are safer for the purposes of keeping government from getting too much power, to the point where they can imprison their populace. Doesn’t make me an originalist; I’m fully aware that the 1700s are dead and gone. It’s more a matter of historical curiosity for me what the Framers meant by what they wrote.

Anyway, as far as “rights” that are not in the Constitution, we have a system to add Ammendments (better capitalize that, or the whole sentence sounds silly), but that’s not the Court’s job either. Jeez, did I say this already?

Whatever, the Post Reply button is talking to me and that means I should either drink more or go to sleep.

[ninjaedit]spelling lol[/ninjaedit]

Spoken like a true Originalist. That is why Originalists like Scalia (I use Scalia since he is on the Court now and is one of the more prolific Orginalists) say that we shouldn’t read into the Constiution. Representative Democrats on the other hand would argue that amendments are so hard to pass, that they are more of a kind gesture than an actual tool. Besides, privacy exists in certain areas of the Constiution, so why add an Amendment to specifically say there is a right to privacy? I haven’t said that you are right or wrong. I’m merely trying to get you to see that the argument isn’t as clear cut as you are making it and to understand the other side a bit. From the way you are speaking, I think Roberts might please you if he is appointed to the Court since he will look more at what the Framer’s were meaning back then.

as I tried to say earlier, the reason why the hearings are harping on privacy right now is because some are worried that the Supreme Court might overturn earlier cases that substantively assured the right to privacy; especially in light of Roe v. Wade and the ramifications of the Patriot Act.

Just to clarify what the “originalists” are supposed to stand for that Infonick is slightly overlooking. The point of originalism isn’t supposed to be “what the Founders originally meant,” rather, the thrust of their argument is just to apply what the Constitution literally says. Scalia would roast us if we claimed originalism dealt with what the Founders originally meant. I used to be an originalist, so I know of all these tricky ways.